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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  February 12, 2020 5:29pm-8:20pm EST

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individuals who decided to go off on a detour of their own, forgetting who they represent. worst of all, in that briefing it was suggested that engaging in public debate, discussion, and deliberation about further military action in iran -- in other words, precisely what we're doing right here and right now -- would somehow empower our enemies and undermine the morale of our men and women overseas. mr. president, this is as fault -- this is as false as it is insulting to the american people and demeaning to the constitutional framework to which each of us has swore an oath. it's contrary to our very form of government. constitutionally separated powers exercised with accountability to the people by a -- via checks and balances are
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precisely what makes the united states strong. bowing to the politician's impulse to avoid responsibility and subvert our constitutional duty, that is what empowers our enemies and undermines the morale of our nation. whether the united states sends our young men and women into harm's way yet again is on us. not to cheer or jeer but rather to decide and stand accountable for. and so of course that decision ought to be made at the end of very public debate that requires not only our attention, but our contributions, and ultimately our assent. our names have to be on the line if we're going to offer up our fellow beings to stand in harm's way. for too long congress has deliberately and in a very cowardly manner shrunk from its constitutional responsibility for its own narrow, selfish,
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shallow political interests. but by taking itself out of the process of debating and declaring war, congress has taken the american people out of the process, and that, mr. president, is simply unacceptable. it's time to turn the page. osama bin laden is dead. so are the 9/11 terrorists. general soleimani is dead. iran is weakened and isolated. saddam hussein is dead and has been out of power for a generation. and iraq is a sovereign nation that can and should dictate its own course. we now face new challenges, and our priorities have rightfully changed, and they must. while this resolution speaks only to offensive action against iran, i believe it's time to repeal the 2002 aumf and bring our troops in iraq home.
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it's also time to repeal the 2001 aufm and bring our troops in afghanistan home. that is a question that we can and should address in this body. but in the meantime we as a body and as a nation should at least agree that there is no justification for further military action in iran in the absence of a new authorization for the use of military force or a declaration of war by congress. this resolution is consistent with the president's desire to keep us out of excessive, unnecessary, and especially undeclared, unconstitutional wars. it's consistent with the vision of our founding fathers who sought to make it harder to enter into war by requiring expressed consent from a bicameral legislature. and it is consistent with the conviction that the american people, whose sons and daughters lay down their lives to defend us, should get a say in this matter. president trump wants to make
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america great again. i stand with him. the military storm system complexion wants -- the military industrial complex wants to make america great again and i stand strongly with them. making america great britain again would include such things as giving the executive the power and keeping the legislative branch out of the power of declaring war. that's wrong. that's not what our constitution allows. that's not even what president trump wants. we need to support this resolution. mr. president, i have some brief remarks on a different topic and ask they be submitted into the record under a different heading. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. lee: mr. president, on february 14, 1870, a remarkable thing happened in utah, something that changed the course of history not just in our state, but in our entire nation. sarif young, a 23 l-year-old schoolteacher became the first american woman to cast a vote in a political election under an equal suffrage law. it was a moment that both
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followed and preceded a long line of remarkable contributions from utah women, women who have pioneered and led in our state and in our nation. take mary fielding smith, the wife of hiram smith, one of the early leaders of the church of jesus christ of latter-day saints. after hiram was murdered, the resilient widow followed in brigham young's footsteps taking her children and leading a group of pioneers across 1, 300 miles of wilderness into the west. through a combination of faiths and grit, she braved treacherous weather, a massive buffalo stampede, and a myriad of hazards successfully leading the entourage to a settlement where they could build a new life and live in freedom. other utah women continued to blaze the trails. martha hughes cannon standing out among them. at a time when women rarely went
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to college, martha aspired to be a medical doctor earning a degree in medical and pharmaceuticals. a skilled public speaker she earned degrees in oratory and public speaking giving her four degrees by the time she was 25 years old. in the late 19th century she quickly became a leader in utah's women's suffrage movement putting her speaking skills to good use. at a large suffrage meeting held at temple square in 1889, she argued, quote, no privileged class either of sex, wealth or descent should be allowed to exist. all persons should have the same legal right to be the equal of every other, close quote. in the first year that women could vote and run in a utah election, martha ran as a democrat for one of the five state senate seats even running against her husband. she became the first woman to be elected as a state senator either in utah or in any other
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jurisdiction in the united states and went on to sponsor many successful and influential legislative proposals. and all the while she was in public office, she continued to run her private medical practice and raise her three children. it's indeed fitting that we will soon be installing a statue of this extraordinary woman here in the u.s. capitol building. fast forward to today where utah women are continuing to carry the banner of public leadership and service. we have ruth watkins as president of the university of utah. astra as president of utah university. noelle crockett, president of utah state university. and beth dodkin president of westminster college. gail miller, entrepreneur who took over ownership of the utah
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jazz after her husband died as well as his other companies. she led the team and companies with exceptional grace, dedication, and success and helped their philanthropic arm champion education, homelessness and family causes. and we have corinne clark president and c.e.o. of banion. in all different capacities, in all different fields, utah women are continuing to make invaluable contributions in our state and in our nation. these women have offered and continue to offer much-needed gifts to their families, communities, schools, churches, businesses and governments. when martha hughes canon spoke before a united states senate committee about the success of women's suffrage in utah, she said the story of the struggle for women's suffrage in utah is the story of all efforts for the advancement and betterment of humanity. close quote. as we approach the 150th
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anniversary of seraph young's groundbreaking vote and enter the centennial year of the 19th amendment, it's only fitting that we honor the legacy of these remarkable women and all they've given to my state and to our country. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. mr. cardin: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. mr. cardin: thank you, mr. president. i take this time to urge my colleagues to support senate joint resolution 68 that we will be voting on, as i understand, tomorrow. the resolution thatches introduced by -- the resolution that was introduced by senator kaine. i want to acknowledge senator kaine's long-standing commitment to the united states senate and congress carrying out our constitutional responsibilities as it relates to the authorization for the use of military force, that that rests
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solely with the congress of the united states, and we have a responsibility to speak as to that authority. in the last congress, with senator flake, we -- their efforts on the senate foreign relations committee was an effort to try to bring us together in regards to the passage of an aumf because we had seen successive administrations using our military without authorization from congress. so senate joint resolution 68 is aimed at one specific conflict in which we can come together, and i'm optimistic that we'll be able to act on this resolution. it deals with the use of force in iran, and it is very specific as to say that unless explicitly authorized by a declaration of war or a specific authorization for the use of military force against iran,
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there is no authority to use our military against iran. now it has for certainly legitimate reasons that the president can use force to defend ourselves from imminent attack. that certainly is how i think all of us perceive the authorization for force for congress needs to be qualified in the case of an urgent situation the president can in fact act. now why do we need this resolution passed now? well, i need not tell my colleagues that there's a heightened sense of tension between the united states and iran. it's been building for some time. certainly the soleimani action and the u.s. military action in which general soleimani was killed, he was the leader of the coup force in iran.
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he was taken out by our u.s. military. that has presented a heightened tension between the united states and iran. congress has the sole responsibility to commit our troops to combat. it's in article 1, section 8, of the constitution. congress has the power to declare war. this is not a decision made by the president. it's a decision made by congress. our founders were very concerned about having the appropriate balance between the executive branch and the legislative branch. it's called checks and balances. we did not want a monarchy. we wanted to make sure that there was sufficient support before war was declared, that it's in our national security interest that the congress and the president and the american people are all together in an effort if we're going to have war against another country. and that war should always, use of military should always be a
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matter of last resort, that we should always exhaust diplomacy, always exhaust other means before america initiates war against another country or the use of military force. this authority that rests in congress was tested in the vietnam war. the gulf of tonkin resolution was passed by congress during the vietnam conflict, the early stages, to give the president the authority to use force to defend our military against attacks from, coming from vietnam. it was never intended to lead us into an act of prolonged war, but as we know, it was used by successive administrations for a prolonged war in vietnam. i think historians would agree that that was an abuse of the interpretation of authorization that the gulf of tonkin resolution was never intended
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for offensive military operations in vietnam, but it was used for that purpose. so congress in 1973 took action to make sure this would never happen again. they passed what's known as the war powers act. the war powers act was passed by strong bipartisan vote in both the house and senate. it was vetoed and the congress overrode the veto of the president because we knew that it's our responsibility to commit our troops to battle. so what is -- does the war powers act require? it requires first consultation with both congress, by congress by the president with congress in every possible instance before committing troops to war. that's the exact language in the war powers. there's consultation requirements. then there has to be reporting
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within 48 hours of american troops sent into hostilities or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances. and then third, the war powers act requires an end to foreign military action after 60 days unless congress provides a declaration of war or an authorization for the operation to continue, an authorization for use of military force in aumf. why do we need senate joint resolution 68 if we have the war powers act? like vietnam, now in iran, the president is usurping the constitutional powers of congress billing saying he has certain -- congress by saying he has certain authorities that go beyond what was intended in the constitution or the war powers act. now let me get to general soleimani for one moment. he was killed on january 2, 2020, in baghdad. there is no sorrow over his loss.
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he was an evil person who caused the death of so many different people. he was clearly a person who is not missed in this world. that's absolutely accurate. but president trump's actions violated all three of the provisions of the war powers act that was passed in 1973 to try to prevent this type of circumstance that happened in vietnam happening again. now, why i say -- why do i say all three? first, was there an an imminent threat that allowed the president to make this decision without congressional authorization? well, we have been through a classified briefing and i'm not going to talk about what was presented in that classified briefing, but i think it's fair to say that we were not presented with the documentation at all that there was an immediate threat against america. the president had not made that case, and we have heard public
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comments that have been made by administration officials that they did not know about specific threats at that particular time. so one, the war powers act was violated because there was not an imminent threat before the president used military action. number two, we now know that this had been planned for some time as one of the potential operations that could have been given to the president to respond to iranian action, that is taking out general soleimani. so there was plenty of time to consult with congress, but yet before the military action, there was no prior consultation with congress. the second violation of the war powers act. then third, congressional notification and removal of troops within 60 days. the president has not submitted nor does he intend to submit to congress an authorization for military use or declaration of
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war against iran. he clearly does not intend to do it. but he has made it clear by his own statements that he will use force again against iran if he believes it is justified, and his determination of justification is not what congress intended when it passed a war powers act in 1973. even more urgent, the president claims that he has authorization from congress. so the president through his lawyers have said well, okay, maybe if we don't have the inherent power, but we have specific authorization that has been previously passed by congress that allows us to use military action against iran. so let me go through the two authorizations that are still active and used by presidents. first we had the authorization for use of military force that was passed in 2002. this is the authorization that was passed to go after iraq.
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now, i must tell you i voted against this authorization. i thought that there was no evidence that iraq was involved in the attack on our country on september 11, 2001. i didn't think there was evidence of that. so i opposed that resolution in the house of representatives when i was a member of the house of representatives. but that resolution says that the use of force to defend the national security of the united states against the continuing threat posed by iraq. we're talking about iran, not iraq. how could conceivably the president use the 2002 authorization to claim that he had authority to go after an iranian general? i don't understand that. i don't -- can't figure that out for the life of me. but that argument has been made. and then we have the old fallback of 2001, an aumf that
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was passed immediately after the attack on our country on september 11, 2001. that authorization was passed, and i quote, to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons that planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attack that occurred on 9/11, 2001. now, this has been used by many administrations, so it goes back well before president trump in the misuse of the 2001 authorization. iran was not involved in the attack on our country on 2001, on 9/11, so how do you use this authorization to say you have authorization now to take out a general in iran or to use force against iran? it's clear to me that that is a total misreading of the authority of congress. congress never intended when they voted for that
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authorization now 19 years ago that -- almost 19 years that it intended that it would be used as it's being used today. that's a total misuse of the authorization by congress. so in regards to iran today, there is no aumf. we have not passed authorization for iran. the president has already shown that he will act and will not comply with the war powers act, and he is likely to use force again that could lead to a lengthy military engagement with iran. that is a possibility. so we need to pass senate joint resolution 68 because it's specific. it's specific to iran that there is no congressional authorization, and just as importantly if the president wants to use military, he must seek prior authorization from
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congress as is envisioned in the constitution of the united states. it gives the president the power to protect us against imminent threat. so for good reason, congress has the constitutional powers here. my generation paid a very heavy price because of the vietnam war and the way that we got into the vietnam war without the voice of the united states congress giving the specific authorization. let us not cede our responsibility under the constitution or allow the president to accede his. i urge my colleagues to support and vote for senate joint resolution 68. with that, i yield. mr. paul: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from kentucky. mr. paul: i ask unanimous consent that the following interns in my office be granted floor privileges until may 1, 2020 -- page grande, michael sudon, william scott, and noah
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haverick. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. paul: when the senate begins its debate as it is doing today on the war powers act and considering this resolution, we are considering whether to do our duty to the constitution. the debate over war powers is bigger than any one senator, bigger than any one president, and bigger than any political party. the debate over war powers is a fundamental constitutional debate, and the constitution and our founding fathers were clear the power to declare war lies in the legislature. madison put it this way -- the executive is the branch most prone to war. therefore, the constitution with studied care vested that power, the power to declare war, in the legislature. yet we have increasingly deferred and delegated the war powers back to the executive. we have abdicated our role as the body that should be deciding with the people when to go to
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war. while the president may have the power to repel an attack, congress has done little to stop increasingly bold arguments that everything is in response to an imminent attack. i'll never forget president obama coming to speak to the republican caucus a few years ago, and he said well, they were under imminent attack, and we were like who, in the libyan war. he said benghazi. we said for goodness sakes, we thought imminent attack was of america and not a foreign city. that's how far afield we have come that a president would come to us and say i can do whatever i want if there is an imminent attack of a foreign city. how ludicrous. but given congress' inaction, it should come as no surprise that administration lawyers increasingly argue that everything is imminent and that statutes limiting their sport actually don't limit their authority, that the statutes
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actually is they can do whatever they want. presidents actually argue that article 2 of the constitution -- this is what gives the president power. article 1 is the congressional power. article 2 is the president. they argue that the article 2 section of the constitution lets the president do anything he wishes, he or she wishes, that there are no limits on presidential authority. that is absurd. under president obama, we droned hundreds of people in pakistan, we bombed libya to help defeat qadhafi, we put military personnel in dozens and dozens of countries around the world, fighting militants and regional thugs here and there, but with each passing year, it had less and less to do with 9/11. it's hard to explain to someone how a goat herder in mali has anything to do with the attacks of 9/11, and yet every president comes back to us and says well, you voted for this proclamation in 2001. it gives me the power to do whatever i want wherever i want.
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in our republic, if we are going to go to war, the constitution says you must come to congress, not for consultation, but for permission. today's vote is not a vote for or against the current president. today's vote is for or against the constitution. either you believe that war requires the permission of congress or you don't. why is this vote necessary? because we live in a topsy-turvy world where presidents now argue that their war power is absolute. don't talk to me. i'll do what i want. but the constitution envisioned that we did not ever want one person to decide when we went to war. presidents now argue that a decades-old authorization of force against a long-deceased autocrat, hussein, saddam hussein, is still valid and applies to an iranian general, and that is absurd.
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that is insulting to the people, it's insulting to the constitution, and it shouldn't be. you cannot argue to the constitution gives the president unlimited power. if that doesn't work, i'm also arguing that in 2002, congress voted to go to war with saddam hussein, and that gives me the power to kill an iranian general. presidents have also argued that bombing is not war. they argue somehow that bombs are not war and that there is a certain amount of true. maybe 1,000. they argue sometimes we are not in hostilities when we are dropping bombs everywhere around our country. they sometimes argue that battles are kinetic action and not really war. we have been at war too long in too many places. it's time to bring our soldiers home. this week, i joined the president to honor two of our soldiers who were killed in action. i stopped at -- with the
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president at dover air force base. let me tell you, it was a sad and somber memorial for two of our nation's heroes, but people need to think about this. this isn't a chess game. this isn't a geopolitical chess game where we're just moving troops here and there and they are, you know, somehow represented by symbols on a big map or a board. this is about people. this is about the young people of our country, and they deserve better. our soldiers deserve to know what they are fighting for. our soldiers deserve to know what the mission is. our soldiers deserve to know if we're making progress. they deserve to be told the truth. america's longest war in afghanistan is in its 20th year. we now have kids fighting who weren't even born when the war began. my committee this week held a hearing to discuss the afghan papers, papers that reveal in the highest ranking officials in
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our military and in our government and in our state department have known for many years that the afghan war lacks a real mission, that it lacks a real national security rationale. my vote today is not simply about iran or the killing of soleimani. my vote today is about the constitutional requirement that congress must declare war. this vote should be 100-0. it's a vote for or against the constitution. this is about acknowledging the constitution says no one man, no one woman can take a nation to war. many members will quietly acknowledge that a separation of powers assigned congress the power to declare war, but when push comes to shove, many senators are afraid to appear to oppose a president of their own party. for me, this debate is not about party. i have supported the
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constitutional mandate that congress must declare war under both democrat and republican presidents, and i will continue. for me, this debate is not a dry and esoteric or meaningless debate. it is a debate about life and death. it is a debate that more than any other debate embodies our commitment to our soldiers. it is a debate that strikes at the heart of our duty to do everything possible to protect human life. today's vote is historic in that the majority of the house and the senate will now be on record affirming congress' power over issues of war. even at the height of the vietnam war, the height of america's probably most unpopular war, congressional majorities did not stand up and assert their constitutional prerogative. today we are doing that. that's a step forward. in the aftermath of the most partisan impeachment in our history, today, though, marks a
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high water mark for the bipartisan assertion of the separation of powers. for me, it will have all been worthwhile when i see our troops returning home to their families safe and sound. for me it will all be worthwhile when we finally end the afghan war, when we finally end the iraq war, when we finally end the war in yemen and throughout africa. when that day comes, i look forward to standing arm in arm across the political divide to welcome our soldiers home. until that day, i will continue to fight for the truth that great nations don't fight perpetual wars. thank you.
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a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming. mr. enzi: thank you. mr. president, i'd ask unanimous
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consent that dan fliven, a government accountability office detailee be granted floor privileges for the remainder of the congress. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. enzi: thank you. mr. president, i rise to introduce the chief financial officer vision act of 2020. shortened to be c.f.o. vision act of 2020. i'm pleased to have senators warner, johnson, lankford and perdue join me as cosponsors to strengthen the financial management and improve financial and performance data. improve financial management. this is numbers, i know this puts people to sleep. improve financial data management can ensure that the
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taxpayer money is wisely and appropriately spent. effective financial management helps to safeguard taxpayer money and ensure it is used lawfully, efficiently and effectively for the purposes intended. 30 years ago congress passed the chief financial officers act of 1990, known as the c.f.o. act. this law laid a new foundation for federal financial management. it established a financial management leadership structure, provided for long-range planning, it required audited financial statements, and it strengthened accountability reporting, among other reforms. the c.f.o. act also called for improvement in the integration of agency accounting and financial management systems and in cost information and in our financial management workforce. since enactment of that act,
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we've seen substantial improvements in federal financial management. today agencies have c.f.o.'s in place to provide leadership and accountability over financial operations and most agencies receive clean audit opinions on their annual financial statements. however, serious and persistent problems remain. many agencies have struggled to modernize legacy accounting systems and are unable to integrate their financial and performance data. oftentimes the federal government is unable to show the relationship between dollars spent and results achieved. after more than 20 years of trying, the government accountability office still cannot give an opinion on the federal government's consolidated financial statements. they cite serious financial management problems at the department of defense, among other issues.
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the legislation that we're introducing would update that 1990 law in a handful of key ways to ensure sustained progress and improving federal financial management. it's based in large part on a g.a.o., that's the government accountability office review of the 1990 law and testimony last october from the comptroller general of the united states before the senate budget committee. first the c.f.o. vision act would standardize c.f.o. and deputy chief financial officer responsibilities, which do vary across federal agencies, to allow for better strategic decision making, the chief financial officer vision act would specify that the chief financial officer responsibilities should include budget formulation and
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execution, planning and performance, risk management and internal controls, financial systems and accounting. the bill would also ensure that the deputy chief financial officers could provide continuity in the event of a chief financial officer vacancy. major financial management improvement initiatives can take years to implement, potentially outlasting a c.f.o.'s tenure. by establishing appropriate statutory responsibilities for the deputy chief financial officers, the bill would help minimize the effects of the c.f.o. turnover. secondly, the bill would update the government-wide agency level planning requirements to ensure they are reasonable and allow for proper planning and monitoring. the updated plans would include projected milestones and
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estimated implementation costs, annual status updates would allow congress to track progress towards these mile milestones and how closely the costs matched those projected. third, the c.f.o. act would require the office of management and budget would determine the status and progress of agencies and how they are making progress towards achieving cost-effective and efficient government operations. currently only limited financial management performance based metrics exist, such as the financial statement audit opinion and reporting of identified material weaknesses. all the accountants understand these terms. so currently only limited
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management performance base met riks exist such as the financial statement audit opinion and the reporting of identified material weaknesses. i could say that a third time and people still wouldn't understand it. this new requirement would require more complete an consistent measurement of the quality of agencies financial management. these performance met riks would be -- metrics would be included to be required to be in the financial plans and status reports. that means we'll have more information to work with. finally, our bill would require agency management to annually assess and report on the effectiveness of internal control, whether they are really keeping track of everything and ensuring it is correct so that would be effectiveness of internal control and financial reporting and other key financial management information. auditors would also be required
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to independently assess internal controls. such assessments will improve confidence in the reliability of financial reporting. the c.f.o. vision act builds on the c.f.o. act's foundation by updating it we can achieve more effective financial management, which i believe will ultimately lead to increased accountability and results and understanding by the senators. i'm pleased that our bill has been endorsed by the national taxpayers union, the project on government oversight, the data collection, the r street institute, citizens against government waste, truth in accounting, and taxpayers for common sense. i think that means that there are accountants on the boards of all of those. this shouldn't be a controversial piece of
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legislation. it just should be an essential update so we know what's happening with the trillions of dollars that were allocating spending and checking up o. so i urge my colleagues to support this bill and i yield the floor. and i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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hfer. the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. portman: i ask that the quorum call be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. portman: i'm here to talk about the addiction crisis in
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our country. over the past four years, i'm told i have given over 60 floor speeches on this topic. that's because it is a crisis and a national one. we've done a lot here in this united states senate and also in the house of representatives to deal with the issue. we passed some important legislation. we're making some progress, but, gosh, prescription opioids, heroin, fentanyl. methamphetamines, cocaine continue to harm so many people in our communities, so many of the families we represent. we put in policies in place to help deal with it, better prevention, better treatment, better recovery efforts. among other things we've passed legislation like the support argument, the comprehensive and addiction recovery act, the 21st centuries cures act, stop act. through these new laws we also provided over $4 billion in additional federal resources just over the last three years to be able to combat this epidemic, particularly the
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opioid epidemic. in ohio alone our states receive nearly $140 million through the cures and kara legislation. it's gone toward innovative evidence-based programs to figure out how do we intervene at the appropriate time to keep people who are addicted from overdosing and instead to get them into treatment, into longer term recovery in a successful way. i've gone to visit many of these programs across our state and i can tell you many of them are working and they're working because local volunteers, local communities, the state is also involved. so that's the positive thing. i was very pleased that the year end spending bill passed with a record $658 million as an example in funding for these cara grants that again go to these innovative ideas back home. i'll give you an example of one. we have in many of our communities now the ability after somebody has overdosed not to simply have them go back home, go to the same
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neighborhood, and get addicted -- continue to be addicted and overdose again and again and again but rather to intervene and to go there with law enforcement, with treatment providers, with first responders and get them into treatment and it's working. a program -- i was recently at columbus, ohio, the react team, 80% of the people who they go to visit end up getting into treatment, and the evidence is that not only are they getting into treatment, but because there is the ability to monitor that, they're also going into longer-term recovery programs. and it's helping to save lives, but it's also for the first responders, it's a great relief because no one is more frustrated than them. think about t you help somebody through an overdose by applying ar can. the next day they're right back again. so this is the right thing to do and again we've made progress in that. the good news is it's starting
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to pay off. after many, many years of increases in overdose deaths every single year, finally we are making progress. in states like mine, overdose deaths had climbed to the number-one cause of death in our state. in other words, surpassing car accidents or anything else. more people dying of drug overdose deaths than anything else. nationwide, we had some great success between 2017 and 2018. we now have those numbers in. 2017, we had about 70,700 people who died of overdoses. in 2018, it went down to about 67,700. that's a decrease of 4%. now, that'sing in to write home about -- that's nothing to write home about, 4%. on the other hand, this is after three decades of increased overdose deaths every year. and in some years, substantial increases. so just to have that 4% decrease -- and we're waiting for the
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2019 figures to become available -- is a big deal. our number out of 2018 was a 22.4% reduction in ohio. we are one of the states that led the country in this. i'm proud of that. that means a lost lives saved. still, though, overdose rate way too high, way too high. we're also, i think you on the positive side seeing more accountability for the opioid crisis in particular, as courts around the country hear cases of those affected by prescription opioids like oxycontin, these drug companies are being held accountable by individual states, by some local governments, by the federal government. every day we learn more about what they did and how wrong it was. the sheer number of pain pills that drug companies pumped into the united states is astounding, with more than 100 billion pain
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pills. during that one period of time, eight years, 100 billion pain pills. we have one county in the southern ohio where we had 48 million opioid pain pills distributed by manufacturers during those eight years. by the way, that's 617 pills for every man, woman, and child in that one county in southern ohio. we were flooded with pain pills that were addictive, and we got to be sure that that kind of a crisis doesn't start again. as i travel around the state of ohio, i hear stories all the time from people who had an accident, an injury, they took pain medication prescribed by a doctor. that led to a physical addiction. something in their brain changed. they became addicted. they couldn't get the prescription drugs because they're too expensive, not accessible enough. so they turned to heroin. and in many cases, the tragedy that occurred was not just an
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overdose but sometimes an overdose and a life lost. and i hear this all the time. just this morning at my weekly buckeye coffee, we have constituents come in once a week, meet with ohioans. i met a young man, an impressive young man from northern eastern ohio. he told me about his mother dylan. he reminded me that i met his mom. dylan struggled with pain pill addiction before dying from an overdose. it is a pattern we've seen too often in our communities and it needs to stop. so we're making some progress there, partly because of the lawsuits i think, and partly because of increased awareness, and partly because of the legislation -- it's helped on this shall did and partly because doctors and others are starting to get the message. we've cracked down on pill mills as well. i talked about one county in ohio with hundreds of pain pills. the number of pain pills
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prescribed fell by 33% nationwide. so pushing back against this opioid flow that flourished for way too long here in the united states is helping, and that's a positive sign as well. but, again, while the c.d.c., center for disease control, has shown an overall decrease in drug overdose deaths for the past 18 months or so, i want to talk tonight about some new, troubling trend. and for the need for us here in congress not to take our eye off the ball because sometimes around here you get a little progress, you think, okay, let's go on to the next thing. unfortunately, that's not the way addiction works. and we've seen this over time. back in the 1990's, we thought would had solved the cocaine crisis. we didn't. now some think we have solved the opioid crisis. we haven't. in addition, there are new troubling trends that i want to talk about tonight. the most worrying is that while the overall number of opioid overdose deaths has fallen, the
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number of overdose deaths related to the very deadliest of opioids -- and that would be synthetic opioids like carfentanil -- have actually increased. it's shifted. think about this. from the prescription drugs to the heroin, now to fentanyl. fentanyl is 50 times more powerful than heroin. a few flakes of this stuff can kill you. and, unfortunately, it's being mixed into other deficit reduction -- mixed into other drugs. according to the c.d.c., 40% of drug overdoses in 2017 were partly because of fentanyl use, 40%, by far the largest problem. that data also showed that overdose deaths due to fentanyl had increased by 88% per year since 2013. so it's been going up really since 2013-2014 time period. we're seeing the mixing occur in a the although of ohio
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communities where declining opioid and heroin use has opened the door for this other of a did. psyche crow stimulants like -- psychostimulants like crystal meth and cocaine are being laced about fentanyl. this is a deadly combination. according to our state's deputy attorney general for law enforcement, carol o'brien, ohio law enforcement officials in 2018 tested doubled the amount of crystal meth. crystal meth is unfortunately making a resurgence in our communities. by the way, you may remember in your community in the past couple of decades you heard about these meth houses. where people would be cooking meth literally, you know, in a home or in a trailer, in the basement and causing environmental concerns and so on. you don't hear about that anymore. and you know why?
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because the crystal meth coming straight from mexico is so powerful and so cheap that people don't have to make it at home anymore. so that's a bad thing because this has expanded the people -- to people that have become addicted to methamphetamine because of this powerful crystal meth. anyway, today i met with law enforcement officers from around the state of ohio. the f.o.p., fraternal order of police. many of you met with them, my colleagues, and they confirmed this troubling trend. they told me that the crystal meth and the cocaine, because they are psychostimulants, are much more difficult for them to deal with and puts their lives more at risk and their state of more at risk -- and their safety more at risk. because it causes a more violent reaction. so think about it. with heroin, with other opioids, prescription drugs, fentanyl, people talking about the nodding
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effect. it the calms people more, whereas with heroin, whereas with cocaine and with the other psychostimulants like crystal meth, it makes people more agitated, more violent. and we have seen not just more assaults is on individuals, but more violent crime overall coming out of this. so it's a shift that is having impacts on our police officers and on our citizens as well? terms of increased -- in terms of increased violent crime. i'm pleased to say that the legislation we passed in december, just about a month and a half ago, responded to this issue of the increase in meth and cocaine. and it's because it included our legislation called the combating meth and cocaine act -- it's a really important bill. basically what it says is let's give local communities the flexibility to use the opioid grant money that i talked about earlier that's increased over the last three, four years for also to be used for
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psychostimulants. and i felt very strongly about this because i was hearing it back home. thank you very much for your help on the opioid crisis. by the way, we've shifted out in our community. opioids are not as big a deal, but we need the funding to also help us deal with the consequences of crystal meth or cocaine. so i thank my colleagues for passing this legislation. it's going to make a big difference and we'll begin i think to see the ability now to address this new threat. the u.s. attorneys for the northern and southern district of ohio have recently weighed in and told me what's going on in terms of this mixing of cocaine and crystal meth with fentanyl. they say that it is a crisis. preliminary data from the cuyahoga county, which is cleveland, 0 he owe, suggests that about 40% of the overdoses in the county were associated with cocaine, much of that mixed with fentanyl. and that's twice the amount by the way of heroin overdoses over that same time period from the previous year, which shows how
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again the front lines of addiction have shifted. partly in response to our successes on the opioid front. we're hearing similar things in the southern district of ohio where more than a third of overdose deaths are from cocaine and fentanyl where they just had 10 overdose deaths from the combination of fentanyl and cocaine in the last several days. so i met with the columbus, ohio, police chief, tom quinlan on friday in the middle of a spike there, a spike in overdose deaths they've seen from this mixture. in the first ten days of february, this month, columbus, 0 he owe, franklin county, had 28 overdose deaths involving some combination of fentanyl and cocaine. 28 in ten days. i was actually in columbus on saturday, a day on which five people died from overdoses of this mixture of fentanyl and
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cocaine. so just yesterday the columbus police informed me that they seized in one drug bust over 200 grams of cocaine and nearly two kilograms of fentanyl. that's about enough to kill about one million people. so again we've made some progress on the opioid front, no question about t we've made progress on the overprescribing. but unfortunately, my colleagues, this issue is not going away. and the more flexible funding we got in at the end of the year is important. we'll begin to see that take effect over the next several months. but we've got do deal with t the other thing we've got to deal with is being sure that some evil scientist doesn't slightly change the molecular compound of fentanyl making it an analogue to fentanyl and it's not illegal. you have to schedule a drug to make it illegal. as we've seen an uptick in these fentanyl copycats, we've seen the reality that it's not just
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about fentanyl. it's also about carfentanil and alsoate in a logs. we had an 18% increase from a year ago with carfentanil deaths in 2019. so 2018 to 23019, an 819% increase. that's why d.e.a., the drug enforcement administration, has made the right call in 2018 in temporarily making these fentanyl-related substances like carfentanil illegal to possess, transport or manufacture. thanks to that, our law enforcement officials have been better able to protect our communities by seizing and destroying this fentanyl-related substance because it is illegal. we had a real problem here in the last couple months in congress because as of early this month, just last week, that scheduling of those analogues expired and we almost had a situation where these drugs were going to become legal. thank goodness, at the last minute we stepped in and
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provided a temporary extension. otherwise, last week we would have had a real crisis. the temporary extension, like so much stuff around here, was kind of kicking the can down the road. so in may of next year, a year and a few months from now, again it is going to expire. so i urge my colleagues to join me, senator manchin, and others on both sides is of the aisle in passing legislation that puts these analogues on this schedule making them illegal permanently. it should be permanent. the legislation is called the fight fentanyl act, and again it just codifies when the d.e.a. has done but also gives them the flexibility to schedule new things as again these scientists come up with ways to slightly alter the molecular compounds for these incredibly dangerous and deadly drugs. our legislation, by the way, has strong bipartisan support but also has the support of every single attorney general in every state in america and six territories. so 56 of our attorneys general
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have come forward and endorsed our bill and i thank them for that. let's do that. let's push back against these deadly copycats of fentanyl and be sure that our communities are a little bit safer. we've made a lot of progress in the fight. as we've seen, addiction, not a particular drug but addiction is the crisis we face. as we have made progress against opioids, including an unprecedented federal response here, and i appreciate that very much, we now see the playing field changing. we see these psycho stimulants like cocaine and crystal meth making a comeback. we see this mixing with fentanyl. again, the funding bill passed last year will help implement these changes. we need to be sure that fight fentanyl legislation is passed. we need to be sure that we continue the funding. again, it's easy to say, well, this crisis is better, let's move on. we have to keep our eye on the ball. so i thank my colleagues as we go through the funding process again that we had to keep the
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funding for the care legislation and others -- the cara legislation and other. we also have a new bill, the cara 2.0. it expands the reach of these programs we're talking about, particularly longer term recovery programs. we have learned it's so critical to get somebody into recovery and keep them in recovery for a long enough time so they don't relapse. we also have in that legislation important legislation with regard to opioid prescriptions because that still is a problem. we say that there should be a limit of three days for acute pain. not for chronic pain, but for acute pain. limited to three days. this comes from a recommendation by the center for disease control and prevention but also the f.d.a. i have heard from too many families like the young man i heard from this morning about someone whose child has become addicted because the doctor gave him too many opioids. and by the way, i now know several families whose son or daughter was given opioids when he or she had a wisdom tooth
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removed, which apparently is one of the top two or three most common procedures in america. doctors are still, dentists are still giving these kids opioids. i think that's wrong. i think that should be stopped altogether. but in the meantime, three days is a sensible limit. a doctor can always prescribe more if you have an issue, but but -- and i think there are proper exceptions for chronic pain, but our legislation would i think make a big difference. it also has a prescription drug monitoring program which would require states to make their monitoring programs and their data available at other states because people go from state to state to get these prescription pain pills. this would help against overprescribing, making sure people are treated as soon as possible, identified. so i urge my colleagues who are not yet cosponsors of any of these bills, the fight fentanyl bill, the kara 2.0 bill to join us in this ever-evolving
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challenge we have which again is not just an opioid problem, it's an addiction problem. every state represented in this chamber is affected by this epidemic. these two bills at least provide us an opportunity to continue to give law enforcement the tools they need and give our communities the help they need to be able to overcome this crisis. i yield back. ms. hirono: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from hawaii. ms. hirono: mr. president, the constitution vests congress with the power to declare war and ultimately thousand authorize -- to authorize the use of military force in order to provide a critical check on a president's decision to deploy troops overseas. congress has for too long abdicated this responsibility in deference to presidents from both parties. presidents have used a broad interpretation of the 2001 and 2002 authorizations for the use of military force to justify
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american military interventions in far-flung theaters such as yemen and north africa. i have supported bipartisan efforts to revisit these authorizations because nearly 20 years later, they are still being used to justify actions unforeseen by the congress that initially approved them. this effort has become more urgent as this president's reckless, impulsive actions are bringing us precipitously close to war with iran. contrary to whatever he says, donald trump's iran policy has not made us safer. in fact, his iran policy has undermined america's national security, isolated the united states from our allies, put the safety of american troops at risk, and, yes, brought us closer to war. to understand how we arrived at this moment and why congress needs to act, we should begin by
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evaluating the consequences of the president's misguided and dangerous decision to withdraw from the iran nuclear deal. by all accounts, the administration inherited a deal that was working one painstakingly negotiated over many months with the u.k., france, germany, russia, china, and iran. it bears repeating, the deal explicitly stated in its first paragraph that, quote, iran reaffirms that under no circumstances will iran ever seek, develop, or acquire any nuclear weapons, period, end quote. and it put a comprehensive, intrusive, and verifiable enforcement mechanism in place to achieve this objective. it blocks pathways iran would need to produce the highly enriched uranium or plutonium it
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would take to produce a nuclear weapon, and under the verification regime created by the deal, international inspectors from the international atomic energy agency, the iaea, were afforded extensive access with then-iran to ensure their compliance. mr. president, the iran nuclear deal was reached through a tough principled diplomacy. these negotiations culminated in an agreement that world leaders could credibly declare would prevent iran from ever obtaining nuclear weapons. in may, 2018, president trump recklessly undermined our credibility and isolated the united states from our allies by unilaterally withdrawing from the iran nuclear deal. and it's important to emphasize that iran was in compliance with their agreement when the president tore it up.
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our unilateral withdrawal from the agreement and the administration's subsequent so-called maximum pressure campaign has exposed the united states to enormous risk. we've seen the consequences almost every day for the past two years as donald trump has engaged in an escalating and increasingly violent tit for tat with iran. the president's chaotic escalation culminated with this impulsive and incredibly risky decision to target and kill high-level iranian and iraqi military officials, including iranian general soleimani on iraqi soil. and the question before us is not whether general soleimani deserved his fate. he was a loathsome figure who was responsible for killing many u.s. service members and for orchestrating terrorism throughout the middle east. the question before us is whether carrying out this risky and provocative act made the u.s. and the middle east safer or more secure.
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they have not. over the past month, the consequences of the president's impulsive actions have become clearer. we now know president trump directed the attack without notifying leaders in congress or our iraqi partners or even our allies who have troops positioned in iraq. he has ordered the attack without preparing for what came next. exposing the united states to further hostilities without a plan for how to de-escalate tensions. after iran retaliated with the coordinated missile strike on american military infrastructure in iraq, the president was quick to reassure the public that no american soldiers were harmed in the counterattack. we now know this was a lie. after weeks of denials or even comments from the president that some troops were suffering from, quote, headaches, the pentagon on monday finally acknowledged
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that 109 service members suffered traumatic brain injuries in the iranian attack. for the president of the united states to make light of these serious injuries, injuries that in many cases may impact these soldiers for the rest of their lives is unconscionable and dishonors the service and sacrifices made every day by our men and women in uniform. and in a sign that tensions continue to escalate, the president has deployed more than 14,000 additional service members to the middle east in the wake of a strike on general soleimani. exposing even more americans to potential retaliation from iran or its regional proxies. these developments further reinforce our conclusion that president trump did not give much thought to the consequences of his actions. the administration has provided a revolving and very troubling
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after the fact explanations that fail to assuage our concerns about this impulsive decision. and only a few weeks ago, the president tweeted in all caps that, quote, iran will never have a nuclear weapon, end quote. given that the president tore up the iran nuclear deal which would have prevented iran from ever getting a nuclear weapon, one cannot help but question where this rhetoric is coming from and what it portends. the american people have made it explicitly clear that they do not want to go to war with iran, especially if war is the result of the president's reckless and impulsive actions. it is therefore imperative that congress exercise its exclusive, exclusive war powers under article 1 of the constitution to prevent this president from launching a disastrous war with iran. mr. president, in normal times,
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we could have confidence during a crisis like this that the president of the united states would mobilize a whole government response to this crisis. and in normal times, the president would lead our allies and the international community in seeking a diplomatic outcome to our escalating tensions with iran. but these are not normal times. congress must reassert its constitutional authority by demanding the president seek explicit authorization prior to any military action against iran. i urge my colleagues to join me in supporting senator tim kaine's war powers resolution tomorrow. mr. president, i yield the floor.
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mr. blumenthal: mr. president, are we in a quorum call, mr. president? the presiding officer: we are not. mr. blumenthal: thank you, mr. president. i'm pleased to join my colleague, many of whom have spoken already in support of senate joint resolution 68, which i am proud to cosponsor. it prohibits an unauthorized, unconstitutional war with iran. it seeks to prevent the trump administration from stumbling into a real and reckless
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military conflict. i want to thank bipartisan colleagues who have provided leadership in this effort, and it has been truly bipartisan in the effort. i appreciate their efforts and many other colleagues to reassert our constitutional war power and represent the will of the american people. americans do not want a new war. they do not want another endless military conflict that harms our national interests without protecting our national security. the constitution trumps any statute without congressional authorization, and anything short of a declaration of war from the united states congress,
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starting a war with iran would be unconstitutional. congress did not authorize war with iran when it passed an authorization to use force against al qaeda more than 18 years ago in the wake of 9/11. congress did not authorize war with iran when it passed an authorization to use military force against saddam hussein's regime in 2002. very simply, congress has not authorized war with iran in any way, shape, or legal form. the president's authorizations for use of military force in no way cover starting a new war with iran. we cannot let the intent of either of those authorizations to be so distorted and stretched
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as to be a pretense for such a war, and that's why this resolution is so important. i urge my colleagues to vote in favor of it tomorrow. but just as alarming as the lack of legal authorization for war is the trump administration's lack of strategy. it isn't that we have a dangerous policy towards iran. it is that we have no policy, no strategy, and no end game, which is the most dangerous situation of all. i am pleased that we have de-escalateed the dramatic rise in tensions between iran and the united states, which well serves the interests of both countries. we must continue the potential for reducing, not escalating,
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military tension, but president trump's reckless actions that brought us so close to military conflict are still in play. we need to continue to de-escalate, not raise the level of tension, if possible. these kind of reckless actions, in fact, brought us close to expulsion from iraq and halted key training exercises with our allies in thecounter-isis mission. and is the case with most of the trump administration's military strategy or lack of it, we are just lurching from one crisis to another, with no objectives, no means to an end, no decision on
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ends, all putting our security and our allies at grave risk. and congress, not to its credit, has failed to conduct critical public oversight that is necessary to hold the administration accountable and to insist on a strategy, an end game, a set of objectives. the trump administration has kept congress and the american people in the dark under the guise of classification. and i will say on a personal note, at the end of so many of our classified briefings in the scif, i will say to a military officer or to an intelligence community representative, our adversaries and our enemies know what you have just told us because you're telling us about what they're doing, and they
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know we know, and we know they know. in fact, they know a great deal about what we are doing. the only ones who don't know are the american people. they are kept in the dark. the trump administration cannot wage war while hiding behind classification gag rules. behind closed doors, the trump administration tried to make the claim that there was a, quote, imminent threat, end quote, to justify the strike against soleimani. i disagree. the trump administration failed to provide the evidence in any setting, classified or not, to support this claim. and the american people deserve to know our path forward with iran. there's no conceivable reason that our goals must be kept secret from members of congress or the people we represent, and
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we certainly must prevent a reckless administration from pursuing a war when it is unwilling to account to the american people. in short, there is a fundamental purpose that is served by a declaration of war. it gives the people who will have to sacrifice in that war a voice in the decision. we represent those people. the families of soldiers and marines and airmen and sailors whose lives will be in harm's way, as well as themselves. it gives a voice to the experts in this body who may have a perspective and a wisdom on these topics. it is a useful check on the executive branch. and let us not forget that
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military actions conducted without a strategy, without consent of the american people have real consequences for all who serve our nation in uniform. we continue to hear reports about the number of troops who have suffered brain injuries in the iran strike against iraq military bases. the total is now up to 109 american service members. the president of the united states has minimized those kinds of injuries, headaches, but, in fact, the amount of brain injuries, concussions, post-traumatic stress are among the most painful and damaging wounds of war. in part because they are invisible, and they are sometimes minimized.
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so let us never forget the consequences of war, the consequences to our economy, to our faith in the american democracy, to the credibility of our leaders, to our people and lives lost -- to our people in lives lost and damage. and that is true especially of a war that has never been authorized by congress and fails to have the support of the american people. that's why this vote is so important today. there are many, many reasons to vote in favor of senate joint resolution 68. i call on may colleagues to send a clear, unmistakable message to this administration -- you do not have congressional authorization. you do not have the support of the american people.
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you do not have permission from this congress under the constitution to wage war or begin it against iran. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. merkley: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from oregon. mr. merkley: mr. president, i'm proud today to rise in
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support of s.j. resolution 68 -- the presiding officer: we're in a quorum call. mr. merkley: could we lift that quorum call, please. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. merkley: thank you very much. mr. president, i'm proud today to rise in support of s.j. resolution 68, the kaine-lee resolution to remove the united states armed forces from hostilities from the islamic republic of iran or any part of its government or military. this resolution is crucial at a momentous moment in our nation's history. as united states senators, we're no strangers to tough decisions. when this institution is functioning properly, we make such decisions all the time, tough questions and tough decisions on which programs to fund or who sits in judgment over their fellow citizens on the federal bench or issues of civil rights or equality or fairness. but without doubt, the most
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difficult decision any senator will ever face is whether to authorize war, whether to, through such authorization, open the gates to send the men and women of our armed forces into harm's way. it's a solemn responsibility that all of us here take very seriously. and it's a responsibility that the founding fathers intended to wrest solely here in the congress of the united states of america, not down pennsylvania avenue in the white house, not in the hands of any one person sitting in the oval office. at the constitutional convention in 1787, george mason, a delegate from virginia, said he was, quote, against giving the power of war to the executive because the president is not safely to be trusted with it.
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speaking to the pennsylvania ratifying convention that same year, james wilson stated that, this system will not hurry us into war. it is calculated to guard against it. it will not be in the power of a single man or a single body of men, such as just the senate or just the house, to involve us in such distress, for the important power of declaring war is vested in the legislature at large. james madison, the father of the constitution, wrote to thomas jefferson in 1798 saying, the constitution supposes what the history of all governments demonstrates -- that the executive is the branch of power most interested in war and most prone to it. it has accordingly, with studied care, vested the question of war
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to the legislature. all of these comments and so many more are about the gravity of deciding to go to war, deciding on whether hundreds or thousands or tens of thousands will walk into the face of danger, suffer injuries, suffer death; questions about war are questions of great human calamity that cannot be taken lightly. they cannot be taken on a spur of the moment. they cannot be taken with the judgment of a single individual. our founders noted that a president, a single individual, any single president, not a particular individual -- it it s not about the individual in the white house at the moment -- it
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should be the collective body of congress to weigh this question of national defense, whether or not we should send our sons and now our daughters into harm's way in a military fashion where many will be injured and many will die. and it's an issue of national treasure as well, because the cost of war is a huge cost in blood and a huge cost of injuries and a huge cost to the treasury. that's why this responsibility was placed with us and with the house of representatives. in this constitution and probably every member here has one in their desk -- they just simply have to look in article 1, section 8, where that specific responsibility is given to us, not to the president, not to the executive. and we did swear upon coming
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into this body an oath to this constitution not to some vision of our personal desire that maybe a president would be better at making this decision, not to any scholar's opinion but to this document, which vests this power in this body, not the president of the united states. now, for too long congress has allowed a steady expansion of the exercise of military power without authorization, without a declaration of war from congress. so this is one of those rare moments where we are standing up to say, no, any decision to conduct war against iran needs to come in accordance with the constitution, in accordance with the war powers act, in accordance with the decision and debate that would occur here.
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the senate joint resolution 68, it lays out what the war powers act says. which is that at any time that the united states armed forces are engaged in hostilities outside the territory of the united states, it's possessions, and territories, without a declaration of war or specific statutory authorization, such forces shall be removed by the president if the congress so directs. so this is a debate over whether the congress should so direct. and, indeed, it lays out in this document the vision of our constitution and says the question of whether united states forces should be engaged in hostilities against iran
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should be answered following a full briefing to congress and the american public of the issues at stake, a public debate in congress, and a congressional vote, as contemplated by the constitution. so this resolution does not say, congress will not debate the issue. it says congress should debate the issue, if the president so requests, and come to a decision at to whether to open the gates of our nation to war. it then proceeds to do exactly what the war powers act provided for, which is direct the president to terminate the use of u.s. armed forces for hostilities against the islamic republic of iran or any part of the government or military, unless explicitly authorized by a declaration of war or specific authorization for the use of
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military force. this is all about the vision of our constitution. are we going to support it? are we going to say, no -- are we going to say no to this warfare unless it's authorized by the vision of the constitution? are we going to say, you know, we don't want the burden of that responsibility of the it's a tough decision to make. we're not sure we'll get it right, so we will just let the executive do what it wants, even though the constitution says no. let us honor the vision of the constitution. let us support this that is before us. let us ponder how easy it is for there to be a cycle, a provocation, an escalation. we've seen that with iran. iran is not a friendly power to the united states of america. iran has been involved in
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activities that we greatly oppose, supporting forces in syria and lebanon and yemen, develop being ballistic missiles -- developing ballistic missiles, creating concerns inside of its neighbor iraq with its iranian militias and the u.s. -- the u.s. has been involved in this cycle of provocation and escalation. we made a deal with iran of economic assistance to iran if they abandon their nuclear program, and they abandoned the nuclear program, and the inspectors certified they had abandoned it, and then we have broken the deal. and we have tightened the sanctions, making life very difficult for the people of iran. and iran launched rockets at our forces inside of iraq and the u.s. responded and attacked militias sponsored by iran, killing a good score of iranians
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in the process and assassinating an iranian general. and iran responded with ballistic missile attacks state, injuring at this moment an estimated 100 u.s. forces. a cycle of provocation and escalation. we are on the edge of war. we are involved in hostilities that have not been authorized, and the constitution essentially says in this situation it is congress' responsibility to debate and wrestle with whether to unleash our forces against iran. so let us carry that responsibility, and as we do so, let's think how close we were to a third major war in the middle
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east. we had a war and are still at war in afghanistan. now, the authorization for the use of military force in regard to afghanistan was very narrowly tailored. that authorization said that our forces are authorized to attack those who attacked us on 9/11 and those who harbor those forces. it's now as if that aumf had language added to it, language which essentially said and any other group we disagree with in the world. the words that are often quoted as being part of that aumf are and related forces. but you know what? that language isn't in that aumf. this congress gave a very, very narrow assignment for the authorization of use of force, and it's been expanded massively. and we can debate whether or not
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that authorization has been stretched to the breaking point. i think it has. i think it's been abused. it's been misused, and it dishonors the fact that congress was so specific with that authorization. and the result is here we are 19 years later, and we didn't pursue a simple mission of taking out the training camps. we pursued a mission that has cost this nation a trillion dollars, and thousands of our sons and daughters. and tens of thousands with lifetime injuries. so we have that war. we know what kind of damage and costs there can be to an ill-considered strategy, and then we have the war we had against iraq and authorized by a 2002 authorization for the use of military force, aumf, and this was also very narrowly
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crafted. the president is authorized to use the armed forces of the united states as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in order to defend the national security of the united states against the continuing threat posed by iraq. not posed by anyone else. just by iraq. and to enforce the relevant united nations security council resolutions regarding iraq. very, very specific. now, the administration is arguing that this aumf, the 2002 about iraq provides authority to go to war against iran. it's just like the stretching of the 2001 aumf that said go after those who harbored the 9/11 terrorists but has been stretched to go after other groups all over the world. but in both these cases, there was an authorization. congress did debate. yes, they have been abused after
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they were passed, but what there wasn't was an open door without congress involved. so we must do our job here and realize the gravity of these conflicts and get the full extensive information and make sure there is no fake news in that information. the iraq aumf, this body operated on the solemn guarantee that there were weapons of mass destruction being developed by iraq. it proved out to be false. so when we do hold the debate over iran, let's make sure we get the absolutely honest intelligence, not the spin, not the cherry picked intelligence, not partial, not selected to drive a conclusion. the honest, fully honest
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situation of our activities and their activities and the threats that they pose. that's the responsibility we have to make sure that the information we wrestle with is absolutely accurate, and then to weigh the heavy costs of different strategies that may or may not involve force before we vote for force. it's a big responsibility, and i have heard members of this chamber say, you know what? it's such a tough decision. that if i get it wrong? let's just make the -- let the executive make that decision. if i misjudge it and don't vote to go to war and, for example, maybe there were those weapons of mass destruction equivalent to iraq, oh, i don't want to make that mistake. and the people back home won't like it if i make that mistake. and if i vote to go to war and
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the information's wrong and the strategy's wrong, well, then people back home won't like that either. so let's just ignore the constitution. let's just ignore our oath to the constitution. let's just let the person down pennsylvania avenue do what he wants because we don't like the burden imposed on us by this document that says that issue has to be debated here. the decision to use force has to be debated and decided here, not there because it is too big a question to leave to a single individual. our constitution starts out with these words -- we the people. they did not want to create a king. they did not want to create an
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imperial presidency that acted like a king. they wanted a nation run of, by, and for the people. the question of war is our responsibility. we must make the decision here, and that's why i urge my colleagues to take and say yes, we will vote for this resolution 68 because it says we are demanding the administration do what the constitution demands, which is to place the question of going to war with iran with this body. thank you, mr. president.
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mr. cramer: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from north dakota. mr. cramer: i ask unanimous consent that the only first-degree amendments in order to s. j. res. 68 be the following. 1301, 1322, 1305, 13134, --
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1314, 1320 and 1319. i further ask that no second degree amendments be in order to the amendments listed with the exception of amendment number 1319. and the senate vote in relation to the amendments in the order listed at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow, and that there be two minutes of debate equally divided prior to each vote. further, i ask that all debate time on s. j. res. 68 expire at 1:45 p.m. tomorrow and with the last 40 minutes equally divided under the control of senators risch, inhofe, menendez and kaine. finally, upon the use or yielding back of that time, the joint resolution be read a third time and the senate vote on passage of the joint resolution as amended if amended with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. cramer: i ask unanimous consent that the amendments listed be called up by number en bloc. the presiding officer: without objection. the clerk will report the amendments by number en bloc. the clerk: the senator from north dakota mr. cramer proposes
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four other senators' amendments numbered 1319, 1301, 1322, 1305, 1314, 1320, and 1319. mr. cramer: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the senate be in a period of morning business with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cramer: i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of calendar number 343, s. 490. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 343, s. had 90, a bill to designate a mountain ridge in state of montana as b-47 ridge. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection. the senate will proceed. mr. cramer: i ask unanimous consent that the committee-reported amendment be agreed to, the bill as amended be considered read a third time and passed, and that the motion to reconsider be considered made
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and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cramer: i ask unanimous consent that the committee on judiciary be discharged from further consideration of h.r. 1365 and the senate proceed to its immediate consideration. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the bill. the clerk: h.r. 1365, an act to make technical corrections to the guam world war ii loyalty recognition act. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection. mr. cramer: i ask unanimous consent that the graham amendment at the desk be agreed to and that the bill, as amended, be considered read a third time. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cramer: i know of no further debate on the bill, as amended. the presiding officer: is there further debate? if not, all those in favor, say aye. those opposed, say no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the bill, as amended, is passed. mr. cramer: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: without objection.
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mr. cramer: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its business today, it adjourn until 9:30 a.m. thursday, february 13. further, that following the prayer and pledge, the morning hour be deemed expired, the journal of proceedings be approved to date, the time for the two leaders be reserved for their use later in the day, and morning business be closed. finally, following leader remarks, the senate resume consideration of s.j. res. 68 under the previous order. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cramer: for the information of all senators, we will vote in relation to six amendments starting at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow. if there is no further business to come before the senate, i ask that it stand adjourned under the previous order. the presiding officer: the senate stands adjourned until senate stands adjourned until >> for judicial nominees to
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serve as district court judges, 192 federal judges confirmed during president turk trumps term. procedural vote on an iran war powers resolution offered by virginia democratic. a fight about expected tomorrow. president trump treated earlier today, and urged senators to vote against it. >> steve spans washington journal live every day with news of policy issues that impact you. coming up thursday morning, problem solvers cochairs new york republican congressman, tolerated new jersey democratic congressman, josh discusses bipartisan of congress. arkansas bruce westerman, talks about his trillion initiative to help address climate change. watch steve spans washington journal live at seven eastern thursday morning be sure to watch washington journal next week for museum week.
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george washington mount vernon, the national museum of them are incorporated the smithsonian museum of national history. and of the american indians and of african-american history and culture. tonight on "c-span2", a look at final preparations for the 2020 census. then later, senators debate on powers resolution that would limit the president's use of military force against iran without congressional approval. a final vote on the measure is expected tomorrow. on capitol hill, u.s. census bureau director stephen, told lawmakers that the agency would be ready to roll out the 2020 census in april. despite a new government report that raise questions about staff recruitment and cybersecurity risks.


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